Answer: Strelitzia is the botanical name for the plant called Bird of Paradise. It's a tropical plant that grows outdoor in most parts of California, and indoors during the winter in other regions of the country. The plant is propagated by division, and plants won't bloom until they're 4-6 years old. But the bloom is spectacular, almost bird-like in appearance, in colors of orange, blue and white. Strelitzia is a good container plant and blooms best when it's slightly pot-bound. Give it average household temperatures (minimum 55F degrees in winter), bright light but not direct sunlight, and well-draining soil. Water thoroughly and then let soil dry between waterings. Mist the leaves occasionally. You can put the plant outdoors in the summertime, protected from direct sunshine, and bring it back indoors in early fall. The blooms are used in cut flower arrangements, but they don't preserve well. You'll have to enjoy the flowers when they're fresh!
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